Thursday, March 21, 2013

Qatari Invention: Safe landing

A Qatari inventor has designed an apparatus to help aircraft land safely in the event of landing gear malfunction.

The Aircraft Swing, invented by Jassim Abdulla Al Khenji, is meant to reduce the risk to aircraft and those on board if the landing gear fails to deploy properly before landing. It is a movable runway designed for emergency landings that can also be used if the concrete runway is flooded or covered with thick snow.

“It is the ideal solution to prevent these disasters that can be very costly in terms of lives, and financially,” said Al Khenji.

The Aircraft Swing can serve all types of aircraft, with or without wheel malfunctions.

“Through my research, I have found other models that can serve in these scenarios, but they were too fictional and not very well thought through,” he said.

The swing is made of rows of wheels mounted on stands on either side of a pathway about 1.5 metres wide that can accommodate the nose wheel. It is long enough for the plane to land on and wide enough to hold the aircraft.

Wheels on the outer right and left sides of the swing can be moved or removed by remote control from the control tower to allow the left or right wheels to swing through in case of a malfunction that stops wheels on one side from deploying prior to landing.

The swing is equipped with nozzles that spray a foamy lubricant to minimize friction between the plane’s body and the tires during landing to prevent any fire.

Some of the swing’s tyres are installed with brakes to slow down the aircraft and bring it to a stop quickly.

Sections of the swing can be detached and can function as aircraft stands. These sections can be winched or pulled by airport technicians to take the aircraft to a maintenance area after the passengers have disembarked and the luggage is unloaded.

“There are some inventions for aircraft emergency landing that serve almost the same purpose, but they have not been applied in practice. After studying some, I found that they were too fictional and would not work in real life situations, and others that were too expensive and not very well thought through, because they did not cover all scenarios of an aircraft emergency landing,” Al Khenji said.

Features of Aircraft Swing:

It is capable of receiving all kinds of aircraft, including Boeing, Airbus, private planes and military aircraft.

It can serve aircraft suffering full or partial landing gear malfunction.

Sections of the apparatus can be detached to function as a carrier for the plane.

It is capable of quickly receiving multiple aircraft one at a time when a detachable section is removed along with the plane and replaced by a spare section to receive the next aircraft.

It does not require any complex or heavy equipment, and can be easily used during an emergency landing procedure by the pilot, ground technicians and the control tower.

It can be built with available equipment at a reasonable cost. The maintenance cost is relatively low.

It can be used in adverse weather conditions, including heavy rain, heavy snow, floods or any other condition that makes it dangerous for the aircraft to land on the cement runway.

It has nozzles that spray a foamy lubricant where the plane’s body is in contact with the swing, to prevent any fire.

It can be controlled remotely to alter the layout of the swing to fit the shape of the aircraft prior to landing.

It is relatively easy to use for both pilots and ground technicians; this means trainee or international pilots can be easily guided to use the swing without extensive training.

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